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Shake up a stale workout!

Symptoms of AFib

Protect your family from the Delta variant

15 powerful

SUPERFOODS

A SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT TO TIMES BEACON RECORD NEWS MEDIA • AUGUST 19, 2021


PAGE S 2 • FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • AUGUST 19, 2021

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PAGE S 4 • FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • AUGUST 19, 2021

FOCUS ON HEALTH 15 superfoods for a nutritious diet

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for those looking to improve their health or take preventative measures, these 15 natural superfoods can be incorporated into your daily diet to help support your health: 1. Avocados ~ On top of the list are avocados which boast a host of health benefits, some of which might surprise even the most ardent devotee of avocado toast. The fruit is a great source of numerous vitamins, including C, E, K, and B-6. They also contain betacarotene, which the human body converts into vitamin A that promotes healthy skin and a strong immune system. Avocados also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, a pair phytochemicals concentrated in the tissues in the eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin are believed to block blue light from reaching structures in the retina, thereby reducing a person’s risk of developing macular degeneration. Because they’re high in vitamin K, a nutrient that is crucial for bone health, avocados may help reduce a person’s risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition characterized by bones becoming fragile and brittle due to loss of tissue. Vitamin K may help improve the intestinal absorption of calcium. That’s a significant benefit, as calcium deficiency has long been associated with a greater risk for osteoporosis. Lastly, avocados are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit the body in myriad ways. One of those ways is by helping to reduce the symptoms of depression. Polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids are thought to antagonize inflammatory cytokines that can contribute to feelings of depression. 2. Rosemary ~ Studies have shown this powerful spice can reduce the risk of stroke, as well as protect against Alzheimer’s disease. 3. Almonds ~ Full of plant sterols and amino acids, almonds can help lower high cholesterol and promote muscle growth. These handheld treats are also rich in vitamin E, which can protect skin from sun damage. 4. Green Tea ~ Armed with a special type of antioxidants called polyphenols, green tea can decrease plaque formed in the arteries and can fight prostate cancer. 5. Fatty Fish ~ Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish such as salmon, flounder and sardines can lower the risk of heart disease. 6. Bananas ~ This easy, portable snack is loaded with essential potassium, which regulates the nervous system. Bananas also offer loads of vitamin B-6, which aids immunity and metabolism.

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7. Whole Grains ~ These powerful body defenders have been known to boost immunity, protect against various cancers and reduce cholesterol. 8. Eggs ~ These energy-packed breakfast favorites contain a special type of protein that helps build muscle strength more than other proteins. When compared to other breakfast foods, eggs can also keep you feeling fuller longer with fewer calories and fat. 9. Spinach ~ Chock-full of magnesium, potassium and various vitamins and nutrients, spinach can prevent clogged arteries and protect against prostate and colon cancers. 10. Soy ~This protein-packed food contains isoflavones, which can aid in treatment and prevention of prostate cancer. Also, research from the Food and Drug Administration shows that 25 grams per day can help lessen the risk of heart disease. 11. Dark Chocolate ~ Satisfy your sweet tooth and improve blood flow to the brain at the same time. Dark chocolate can also lower blood pressure and increase skin’s resistance to UV rays. 12. Pomegranates ~ Research shows that pomegranates may bolster heart health, and make a good candidate for dietary supplements that could prevent cardiovascular disease. 13. Blueberries ~ Blueberries have a high number of anthocyanin pigments, which not only give them their rich color, but also act as powerful antioxidants that may lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. 14. Sweet Potatoes ~ This delicious root veggie may contribute to preventing diabetes, obesity, cancer, and other health conditions thanks to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and antimicrobial properties. 15. Allium vegetables ~ Chives, onions, garlic, leeks, and the like deliver potent health benefits including preventing cancer, and garlic in particular may benefit people living with diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.


AUGUST 19, 2021 • TBR NEWS MEDIA • FOCUS ON HEALTH • PAGE S 5

FOCUS ON HEALTH

Shake up your stale workout

E

ating less and moving more are the hallmarks of many fitness regimens, especially those designed for people who want to lose weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce risk factors for many illnesses, making weight loss a worthy goal for those who can afford to shed a few pounds. While people have good intentions when designing their exercise regimens, over time hitting the treadmill or doing a weight circuit can lose its appeal. When exercise routines become stale, people may be put off from doing something that is essential to their overall health. Routinely switching things up can keep workouts fresh and exciting. Try a trendy workout. Experiment with a new fitness trend to see if you like it. Weighted hula hoops can be a good addition to your exercise program, even if you're only able to hula hoop for

a few minutes at a time a couple times during the day. According to the Mayo Clinic, any type of hula hooping, using a weighted hula hoop or a regular hula hoop, can help you meet your exercise goals and provide aerobic activity. And it can be fun! Hula hooping can provide similar results to other types of aerobic activities, such as dancing, with a slimmer waist and stronger core. On average, women can burn about 165 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping, and men can burn about 200 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping. If you try a weighted hula hoop, use a hula hoop that's the right size for you. The hoop should reach somewhere between your waist and midchest when it's resting vertically on the ground. The weight of the hoop is up to you. The smaller and lighter the hoop, the more energy it takes to keep the hoop going. But the bigger and

heavier the hoop, the easier it is to keep going, which means you may be able to do it for a longer period of time. You can experiment with different hoops to see which kind and size you prefer. Start by talking with a personal trainer or group exercise captain at your fitness center. Chances are they’ve already implemented novel workouts for their clients and they can walk you through some of the offerings. So whether it’s hula hooping, barre classes that make you feel like a prima ballerina or renegade rowing to emulate a crew team, new exercises can help to banish boredom. Cut down on workout time. It’s easy to lose interest in a lengthy workout. High-intensity workouts can streamline exercise to 30 minutes or less and produce the same results as longer, less intense regimens. High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a popular regimen that pairs bursts of

maximum-output moves with short recoveries to streamline efforts. Bring a friend along. A buddy to exercise alongside can make a regimen fun even if you’ve done the same things over and over. Plus, a healthy dose of lighthearted competition may motivate you to keep going. Change small components. Apart from preventing boredom, changes to a routine also benefit

your body. If exercise regimens are never altered, and you keep doing the same number of reps and sets, your body can adapt to these workouts and make it difficult to break plateaus. Lack of variation also may decrease focus, which can make it hard to achieve your fitness goals. A consultation with a personal trainer can help you adapt your routine or find an entirely new one.

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PAGE S6 • FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • AUGUST 19, 2021

FOCUS ON HEALTH

How to protect your family from the Delta variant

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espite significant gains in vaccinations and fighting COVID19, the rise of the more transmissible Delta variant poses a significant risk for unvaccinated people. “We are at a critical moment in the COVID19 pandemic. We have the vaccines and public health measures necessary to protect people and stop the spread of the virus, but the onus is on all of us to get vaccinated in order to protect ourselves and our communities. Despite the gains we have made, the dangers — particularly of the Delta variant — are real and concerning,” says Gerald E. Harmon, M.D., American Medical Association (AMA) president. According to the AMA, here is what you can do now to decrease the risk to you and your family.

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Monitor your health.

Pay attention to symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath or cold-like symptoms. Stay home and get tested if appropriate.

Immunize your child.

Now is the time to immunize your child, if they are eligible, so they are fully vaccinated by the start of school. It takes five weeks for the two-dose Pfizer vaccine to be fully effective. With schools reopening in person in August in many places, and with just one in five children between 12 to 15 years old vaccinated, you should start the vaccination process as soon as possible. Additionally, childhood and adolescent vaccination rates against diseases such as measles, pertussis and human papilloma virus dropped precipitously during the first few months of the pandemic stay-at-home orders. Although rates have picked up, they have not picked up enough to achieve catch-up coverage, so make sure your child’s immunizations are on track during well-child visits with their doctor. “In order for communities to fully move on from COVID-era restrictions and ensure we don’t fall back due to spread of COVID variants, everyone must do their part now and get vaccinated. Too much is at stake,” says Dr. Harmon. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines by visiting getvaccineanswers.org or find a location to get vaccinated near you at vaccines.gov.


AUGUST 19, 2021 • TBR NEWS MEDIA • FOCUS ON HEALTH • PAGE S 7

FOCUS ON HEALTH

What is atrial fibrillation?

Afterward, the electrical impulse travels into the atrioventricular node (AN) located near the middle of the Visit your doctor if you heart. During AFib, the experience any of the SA node doesn’t following: direct the electrical • Extreme fatigue rhythm and many • Irregular heartbeat other impulses may fire at once. The • Chest pain American Heart • Lightheadedness Association says this • Heart palpitations causes the atria to • Shortness of breath beat irregularly and quiver. The atria then beat chaotically and not in coordination with the ventricles. While not typically life-threatening, stroke. Roughly 15 to 20 percent of people AFib can cause shortness of breath, who have strokes have AFib, and this is why lightheadedness and may increase the risk many people with this type of arrythmia are of heart-related complications, according to placed on blood thinners. Awareness of AFib symptoms is the Mayo Clinic. The American Heart Association says imperative since it is such a serious condition. AFib may lead to blood clots from blood not Individuals who are at higher risk for Afib pumping efficiently. Should a clot break off include seniors and people who have been and enter the bloodstream, it could lodge in diagnosed with obesity, high blood pressure, an artery leading to the brain, resulting in diabetes, and/or hyperthyroidism. Smoking

and moderate to heavy alcohol use also increase the risk for AFib. A doctor can assess risk factors for AFib and educate patients about reducing their risk. Atrial fibrillation is a common health concern that affects the beating of the heart and efficient pumping of blood throughout the body. People who suspect they have AFib are urged to contact their physicians immediately.

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he human heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute on average, which equates to between 86,400 and 144,000 beats per day. Over the course of a lifetime, an individual’s heart may beat more than two billion times. A fully functional heart is like a well-oiled machine. However, various conditions can affect the heart and its ability to function at peak capacity. Individuals with an irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia, may experience a common condition known as atrial fibrillation. To understand what atrial fibrillation, often referred to as “AFib,” entails, it helps to learn how a healthy heart works. The Cleveland Clinic says when the heart is working properly it pumps blood to the body with a normal heart rhythm. The two upper chambers of the heart (atria) contract, followed by the two lower chambers (ventricles). When timed perfectly, the beats allow for efficient pumping of blood. The electrical impulse that guides the heart’s pumping action is located in the sinoatrial (SA) node in the right atrium. That impulse causes the left and right atria to contract and force blood into the ventricles.


PAGE S8 • FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • AUGUST 19, 2021

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FOCUS ON HEALTH

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rthritis is a common health condition in the United States, affecting one in four adults according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Characterized by the inflammation of one or more joints, arthritis can cause joint pain, stiffness and swelling that can limit one's functionality and impact daily activities. Two of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). For those living with OA or RA, these changes could help improve daily life with arthritis: IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP: There are many lifestyle changes you can make that may help improve your sleep, even if you suffer from arthritis pain. You may want to try avoiding caffeine in the evening, reducing screen time before bed, eating lighter meals at night and keeping your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. CHOOSE FOODS THAT FIGHT INFLAMMATION: The Arthritis Foundation says that, while there is no miracle diet for arthritis, there are foods that can help fight inflammation and improve joint symptoms. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and beans but low in processed foods and saturated fat is not only great for overall health, but can also help manage disease activity. LOSE ANY AMOUNT OF EXTRA WEIGHT: According to The Osteoarthritis Action Alliance, extra weight greatly increases joint pain and damages the cartilage of the joints, especially in the hips and knees. Losing excess weight, even in small amounts, can help reduce joint pain, avoid joint surgery and become more active.

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PAGE S10 • FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • AUGUST 19, 2021

FOCUS ON HEALTH

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Cancer can affect our pets too Can you spot the signs?

C

ancer can strike any person at any time. Cancer does not discriminate based on gender, age or nationality, nor are pets immune to this potentially deadly disease. The American Veterinary Medical Association says approximately one in four dogs will, at some stage in their lives, develop neoplasia, which is the uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells or tissues in the body. A neoplasm can be benign or malignant. Almost half of all dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer. Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans. There is less information about the rate of cancer in cats. Just like humans, pets can exhibit different signs that indicate cancer may be present, according to the Blue Buffalo Pet Cancer Awareness group. These include: Swollen lymph nodes: Lymph nodes are located throughout the body, and enlarged lymph nodes may indicate the presence of lymphoma. Enlarged or changing lump: Any lumps on the body that grow or change in shape or texture should be investigated. Distention in the abdomen: When the stomach becomes rapidly enlarged, this may indicate the presence of a mass or tumor in the abdomen. Unexplained bleeding: Bleeding from any part of the body that was not traumatized should be addressed with the vet.

Weight loss: Chronic unexplained weight loss can be indicative of cancer or some other illness and should be taken seriously. Other potential signs of illness include oral odor, lameness, blood in urine, and a non-productive cough. Pet owners should discuss possible treatment plans if their pets are diagnosed with cancer. According to PetCure Oncology, in the past a cancer diagnosis may have left pet owners with little hope. However, research is now ongoing and there are new treatments that can improve quality of life and reduce the number of treatment sessions. The company says stereotactic radiation, or SRS/SRT, is an advanced form of radiation therapy. Compared to traditional radiation therapy, SRS/SRT is delivered with extreme precision and may be used for some forms of cancer considered untreatable due to sensitive locations in the body. This may be one part of a cancer treatment plan for companion animals. Other cancers may be treated with surgery or medications. Pet owners can discuss their options with their veterinarians. Cancer treatment in pets, much like humans, is based on the type of cancer, how large tumors are and if the cancer has spread, advises AVMA. With support and treatment, it may be possible to prolong the life of companion animals that have been diagnosed with cancer.


AUGUST 19, 2021 • TBR NEWS MEDIA • FOCUS ON HEALTH • PAGE S11

FOCUS ON HEALTH

Top paratriathlete encourages everyone to take care of their eyes

Amy Dixon

A

s one of the world's top paratriathletes, Amy Dixon is always looking forward. Even though an autoimmune disorder has taken away most of her ability to see, she has extraordinary vision for reaching her goals. This summer, from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5, Dixon will compete as a member of the United States team at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo after earning a spot in the paratriathlon, which combines a 750-meter open water swim, a 20-kilometer bicycle race finished with a five-kilometer road race. For Dixon, it is an incredible journey that would have seemed unimaginable two decades earlier.

Vision troubles come to light

Dixon first noticed her vision problems as a 22-year-old college student. She struggled to see clearly in a darkened room. Driving at night, she failed to notice oncoming cars. The signs were clear that something was wrong with her eye health, but she wasn't convinced. "I had 20/20 vision as a kid, so I dismissed the problems I was having as being related to some other condition like migraine," said Dixon, a migraine sufferer since she was a teen. "I was ignoring what was obvious — that something was wrong with my eyes." After scheduling an appointment with an ophthalmologist, Dixon learned she had uveitis, a form of inflammation inside the eye. Her doctor told her that the disease had already put her eyesight in serious jeopardy. He said that 70% of her peripheral vision

had been lost and she would need to begin treatment immediately or risk going blind within 10 years. "Unfortunately, I waited too long before having my eyes examined and uveitis had already attacked my vision. When the diagnosis sunk in, I thought I was destined to go blind," Dixon said.

Becoming her own advocate

Rallying behind a forward-looking attitude that would become her calling card, Dixon confronted her condition head-on. Working with her doctor, she began an aggressive treatment regimen. While uveitis would eventually take 98% of her vision by the time she was 32, the treatments succeeded in slowing down progression of the disease.

A second diagnosis

With her uveitis in remission, Dixon received a second vision diagnosis: She now had developed glaucoma as a result of her treatment. Resilient and determined to keep her life moving forward, Dixon began treating her glaucoma. Along the way, she reengaged in sports and took up swimming, a favorite activity for the former competitive high school swimmer. When a friend introduced her to triathlons (swimming, running and biking), she was hooked. She completed her first triathlon in 2013 and today, she is the reigning ITU Aquathlon World Champion and a seventime ITU Triathlon Gold Medalist. When the competition in Tokyo starts, Dixon will race toward the finish line the

same way she approaches life: by overcoming the setbacks in her path. It's an important lesson she is eager to share. "There is always a way forward," she said. "I encourage people to maximize the strengths they have and find creative ways to do the things they want. It may not be the way you wish for, but if you are open to learning, you can do great things."

A prescription for better eye health

Dixon views her journey as a cautionary tale and she encourages everyone to be proactive in taking care of their eyes. "Uveitis progressed quickly in impacting my vision because I waited too long to see a doctor and wasn't diligent about getting my eyes examined annually," Dixon said. "Pay attention to your eyes. If you suspect you have a vision problem, then see an eye doctor right away." As she continues to manage her glaucoma, Dixon also urges people, particularly young adults, to be wary of a disease that can sneak up without symptoms and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness. "A dilated eye exam could save your sight," she said. "The power is in your hands, so be your own advocate for achieving better eye health." If you've been diagnosed with glaucoma or are caring for someone with glaucoma, a resource is "Understanding and Living with Glaucoma." This free booklet is published by the Glaucoma Research Foundation and can be downloaded or ordered (in English and Spanish) at www.glaucoma.org/booklet.

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